Over 500,000 killed in America’s post 9/11 conflicts, study finds

Editor’s note: Breaking views are thoughts from individual members of the editorial board on today’s headlines.

Between 480,000 and 507,000 people have lost their lives due to war violence in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan since 2001, according to a ew report from the Costs of War Project, based out of Brown University.

The report, written by Neta Crawford, a professor of political science at Boston University, notes that this tally does not include “indirect” losses of life like deaths attributable to “loss of access to food, water, health facilities, electricity or other infrastructure.”

Overall, more than half of the dead were civilians. Nearly 7,000 were American soldiers and sailors. In addition, the report notes that over 53,700 U.S. soldiers and sailors have been wounded in the post-9/11 conflicts. The long-term consequences of physical and mental trauma experienced in all these conflicts will be experienced by countless veterans for decades to come.

Further, the wars have created over 3 million refugees, while internally displacing millions more.

“This update just scratches the surface of the human consequences of 17 years of war,” the report concludes.

When one contemplates the additional suffering and deaths connected to interventions in places like Libya and Syria, the disturbing picture becomes only harder to fully comprehend.

Meanwhile, all of this suffering and loss of life has come at great financial cost. Prior research from the Costs of War Project have put the cost of America’s post-9/11 conflicts at $5.6 trillion.

It’s not clear to me if America is any closer to scaling back its dangerous and deadly foreign policy.

President Trump has on the one hand rightly said that our interventions have left us with “nothing except death and destruction,” while at the same time ramping up military spending.

On the bright side, Rep. Barbara Lee has fortunately received more and more support across the political spectrum for her efforts to end the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force, while other bipartisan sets of House members have emerged to call for an end to presidential wars. America, and the world, needs a lot more of that.

Here’s to hoping the wasteful and destructive foreign policy of the last two decades comes to an end soon.

Sal Rodriguez is an editorial writer and columnist for the Southern California News Group. He may be reached at salrodriguez@scng.com


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